(Photo Credit: Jim Sneddon/Flickr)
As it turns out, everything you need to know about proper online behavior follows the same exact principles as the basic manners being taught to kindergarteners in classrooms everywhere:
1. Play nice – If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say it at all, especially if you’re online! Remember all those people we highlight who have either gotten fired or reprimanded for something idiotic they posted on social media? Learn from their mistakes and don’t repeat history. It’s not fun to get fired publicly for all to see. For those who haven’t seen the posts about people ruining their careers thanks to an offensive act of stupidity on social media, take a peek at this post and this post. Don’t be one of those people, or else you’ll find your humiliating demise in our next social media blunders post.
2. Be yourself – Don’t try and be someone you’re not, because when you get found out (and you will), you’ll only end up looking like an insecure poser, and not many employers find insecurity a favorable trait in an employee. More importantly, never lie about your educational or professional credentials, because that’s not only unethical, but it’s also illegal.
3. Pay attention – Whether you’re a job seeker looking for employment, a professional looking to expand a career, or a brand looking to beat the competition, paying attention to what’s going on in your given industry is a must if you want to stay ahead of the game. Social media makes it incredibly easy to study who is hiring and what they’re looking for, or to connect with local networking groups in an area, or to follow what’s trending in the marketplace; so take advantage of the wealth of information available at your fingertips.
4. Ask for help – Remember when teachers would say, “No question is a dumb question”? The same goes for learning the ins and outs of social media. If you have a question, then seek out an expert in that field on Twitter or Facebook and take a chance at asking him or her your question. The great thing about social media is that you can ask someone like Sheryl Sandberg a question through one of your online networks and she might just answer you back. It doesn’t cost anything and you lose nothing in putting yourself out there in the name of knowledge.
5. Have fun – Most importantly, have fun using social media and get your followers involved! There’s no point in being online if you’re not interacting and making the most of your social networking experience. Share content that you find funny, intriguing, and relevant because you will soon find out how much you have in common with complete strangers in your networks.
Social media can be intimidating, because it’s often totally misunderstood as being more complicated than it really is. At its core, social media is really a virtual means to communicate and interact with others as you would in person, so don't do anything online that you wouldn't do in an in-person meeting. It’s really as simple as that.
Take a look at the infographic below to get a more in-depth explanation of each rule, although they are pretty self-explanatory.
(Infographic Credit: Uberflip.com)
Tell Us What You Think
Do you have any other social media rules to add to the list? Share your thoughts on Twitter or in the comments section below.